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Graham v. Webber

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

January 7, 2016

Eddie Graham, Plaintiff,
Charles Webber, Anderson County Probation, Parole, & Pardon Services, Defendants.


BRISTOW MARCHANT, Magistrate Judge.

The Plaintiff, Eddie Graham, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He filed an amendment to his Complaint on October 19, 2015. See ECF No. 5.[1] Plaintiff is an inmate at the MacDougall Correctional Institution, part of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC).

In this second case[2] brought by Plaintiff complaining about the actions of Defendant Charles Webber, an employee of the South Carolina Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services (working in the Anderson County office), Plaintiff requests compensation for double jeopardy and for allegedly being extorted, threatened, and "locked up." He claims that his prison time "maxed out" on December 1, 2012, but during 2013 he was constantly harassed by the Defendant to pay a balance due that was part of Plaintiff's parole fee. Plaintiff asserts that he made payments, but the balance stayed the same; that the Defendant threatened to lock Plaintiff up if he did not make payments; and that Defendant stated he was putting Plaintiff on parole for another year. Plaintiff alleges that he sent his girlfriend to pay the money and she obtained receipts showing a balance of "0000." He also claims that he went with an attorney (who represented Plaintiff on another case) to see the Defendant, that the attorney asked what needed to be done for Defendant to leave Plaintiff alone, that the Defendant said give me $350 dollars, the attorney paid the $350 dollars, and Defendant agreed to close the case "a year later." Plaintiff claims that during a February 2015 probation violation hearing (which appears to be a separate issue and which Plaintiff challenged in his previous lawsuit), [3] the judge told Defendant that he could not hold Plaintiff's parole case open past December 1, 2014, or make Plaintiff pay the remaining balance because it was a parole case, not a probation case. Complaint, ECF No. 1 at 2-5. In his amendment to his Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that the Defendant committed fraudulent and deceptive acts, failed to fulfill his obligation as a parole or probation officer, tried to make Plaintiff serve time for an offense for which Plaintiff was not sentenced or convicted, violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights, lied to the state court, and extorted money from Plaintiff. Plaintiff's requests monetary damages and that Defendant be disciplined. ECF No. 5 at 1-2.


Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se Complaint pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and § 1915A, the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub.L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), and in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992), Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989), Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), Nasim v. Warden, Maryland House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995), and Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983). Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a federal district court is charged with liberally construing a pro se complaint to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007)).

However, even when considered pursuant to this liberal standard, for the reasons set forth herein below (many of which are the same as in his previous case against this Defendant) this case is subject to summary dismissal. The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) [outlining pleading requirements under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure].

First, Plaintiff's request for monetary compensation based on a claim that his parole was improperly lengthened or revoked by the Defendant is barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). In Heck, the United States Supreme Court held that a state prisoner's claim for damages is not cognizable under § 1983 where success of the action would implicitly question the validity of the conviction or duration of the sentence, unless the prisoner can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has been previously invalidated. Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-487. Heck is also applicable to parole proceedings or the fact or duration of a parole term. See Williams v. Consovoy, 453 F.3d 173, 177 (3d Cir. 2006)[applying Heck to parole revocation decisions]; Crow v. Penry, 102 F.3d 1086, 1087 (10th Cir.1996)[Heck "applies to proceedings that call into question the fact or duration of parole or probation."]; McGrew v. Texas Bd. of Pardons & Paroles, 47 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir. 1995)[noting preclusive rule of Heck is applicable to parole revocation proceedings]; Harris v. Miller, No. 94-7067, 1994 WL 704891, at *1 (4th Cir. Dec. 19, 1994)["To the extent Appellant is challenging his parole revocation, or the procedures used to revoke his parole, such a claim is not cognizable because his parole revocation has not been invalidated."]; Brown v. Lemacks, C/A No. 8:09-2160-CMC-BHH, 2010 WL 2179492, at *3 (D.S.C. Apr. 28, 2010) ["The Supreme Court's ruling in Heck also applies to probation and parole violation proceedings."], adopted by 2010 WL 2179490 (D.S.C. May 27, 2010).

Plaintiff has provided no factual allegations to establish that his parole was terminated under circumstances indicating an invalidation of his parole or that any revocation proceedings were terminated in his favor under circumstances indicating a disposition in his favor. Indeed, Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the SCDC, with his court records indicating he pled guilty to General Sessions Indictment No. 2015-GS-0401068 on July 14, 2015.[4] Nothing in Plaintiff's allegations or the public records of his criminal charges and cases shows a favorable disposition of his parole case or of any parole revocation proceedings such as to subject the Defendant to monetary damages. Therefore, Plaintiff's claim for monetary damages is barred by Heck.[5]

Plaintiff also appears to allege that his "double jeopardy" rights were violated (see ECF No. 1 at 2), but he fails to provide any supporting facts and has therefore not stated a double jeopardy claim. Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a person may not be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb for the same offense. In general terms, this language has been interpreted to bar prosecution in the following three situations:

1. Where a person would be tried for the same offense after an acquittal;
2. Where a person would be tried for the same offense after a conviction; or
3. Where a person would receive more than one punishment for the same offense.

See Benton v. Maryland, 395 U.S. 784 (1969); North Carolina v. Pearce, 395 U.S. 711, 716 (1969), overruled on other grounds by Alabama v. Smith, 490 U.S. 794 (1989)[holding Double Jeopardy Clause imposes no limits on retrying defendant who has succeeded in getting first conviction set aside]. Plaintiff's allegations against the Defendant do not involve any of the three above situations. See United States v. Hanahan, 798 F.2d 187, 189 (7th Cir. 1986)[ "[R]evocation of parole and a criminal prosecution can lawfully be based on the same transaction without violating the double jeopardy clause."]; United States v. Woodrup, 86 F.3d 359, 362 (4th Cir. 1996)[ "[A] sentence imposed upon the revocation of probation or parole is not punishment for the conduct prompting the revocation, but, rather, a modification of the original sentence for which the probation or parole was authorized...."]; see also United States v. Fonteneau, 277 F.Appx. 293, 295 (4th Cir. 2008) ["[B]ecause a sentence imposed after the revocation [of probation] is not considered a new punishment, " but rather, a part of the original sentence, "the Double Jeopardy Clause is not implicated."](citing cases).

"A parole revocation proceeding is an administrative proceeding designed to determine whether a parolee has violated the conditions of his parole, not a proceeding designed to punish a criminal defendant for violation of a criminal law." Hanahan, 798 F.2d at 189. On the other hand, "[a] criminal prosecution is a judicial proceeding that vindicates the community's interests in punishing criminal conduct." Id . at 189-90. Accordingly, "the subsequent criminal prosecution and punishment for conduct which previously served as the basis for a revocation of probation or parole does not offend the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment." Woodrup, 86 F.3d at 362; see Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471 (1972) ["[R]evocation of parole is not part of a criminal prosecution and thus the full panoply of rights due a defendant in such a proceeding does not apply to parole revocations."]. Moreover, "the attachment of double jeopardy rights depends on whether the individual is put in jeopardy' at a particular proceeding, not on whether the government has or has not met a particular standard of proof;" United States v. Miller, 797 F.2d 336, 342 (6th Cir. 1986); nor does the imposition of parole supervision fees constitute a violation of the double jeopardy or ex post facto clause. See, e.g., In re DNA Ex Post Facto Issues, 561 F.3d 294, 300 (4th Cir. 2009)[$250 processing fee for submission of DNA sample not punitive]; Taylor v. State of R.I., 101 ...

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